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LIFT (ELEVATOR) PIANO, (a collaborative project with Marta Adamska in the Glasgow School of Art) is an elevator installation designed to alleviate the mundane nature of the elevator journey. It’s intent was to disrupt existing patterns of elevator behaviour by encouraging movement, discussion and the sheer joy of play.

Elevator Behaviour

Behaviours change depending on whether the elevator is occupied or not.

Groups cluster and conversations tend to be stilted and movement restricted (see illustration right).  Solo use involves a lot of fake phone watching (there’s rarely reception) and staring at anything other than fellow elevator users.

The challenge was to create something which interrupted this solitary and mundane behaviour and engaged them in the experience.  One which didn’t affect the internal structure of the elevator

Print
testing sensors
wiring
floor

The Installation

Using Arduino with MAX/MSP to manage Audio output, LDR sensors were placed around the rails and on the floor surface of the elevator area. 

Three light & soundscapes were created, the fullness of the effect depended on the interaction with the elevator and its users. Each was designed to run for the duration of a full lift cycle, resetting on the top or ground floor to then randomise the next cycle, a new soundscape.

In addition to the sequenced light/soundscape running, individual lights, tones or sounds are generated when sensors are activated on the floor and around the rails, allowing the users to create their own music, encouraging movement to create music or for the pure joy of exploration.

Anything but mundane!